George RR Martin's Wild Cards RadicalRADICAL, THE See also CAPTAIN TRIPS

Yes, we know he's one of Mark Meadows' alter egos, but since he ranks alongside the likes of Fortunato and Modular Man as one of the most powerful Aces on the planet, this guy really deserves his own entry.

Youthful, tall and slender in faded jeans with shoulder-length blond hair, Radical looks like the God of Surfers and is probably how every armchair revolutionary imagines himself when he goes to sleep at night. Politically, though, he's somewhat vague - he wants to give peace a chance, and if that means beating the shit out of The Man until he gets it, then so be it. And in marked contrast to his legendary 1970 debut appearance at People's Park - where he had little else going for him other than enhanced strength and a lethal peace medallion - the Radical has since appropriated some of the best bits from Mark's other 'friends'. In fact, it's probably easier to list what he can't do rather than what he can, but we'll give it a go...

He's still got the super strength and medallion, but along with a general resistance to bullets and the power of flight, he also possesses Starshine's ability to project sunbeams from his fingers, Traveler's insubstantiality, JJ Flash's firepower, and Moonchild's healing abilities and martial arts skills. And while he's been pretty quiet on the Aquarius front, it's a fair bet that he wouldn't drown if he were to fall into the ocean by mistake. This is one dude who's pretty much capable of anything. So try not to give him an excuse.

Positive attributes - Strong-willed, self-confident, anti-establishment, fearless, unyielding.
Negative character traits - Ruthless, fond of bad puns.
Main appearances - Black Trump, Busted Flush, Suicide Kings.
Supporting appearances - Wild Cards.
In a nutshell - War and peace.
Random quote - 'I was here because I was needed here, man.'

 

RENSSAELER, CLARA VAN

One of the younger members of the van Renssaeler empire, the most dysfunctional family unit on earth, and as screwed up as the rest of her clan. Clara's a 'nat' research scientist who's also one of the world's foremost experts on the Wild Card. Unfortunately, she's also well on the way to completing her work on the deadly Black Trump virus, making her a real contender for the 'Top 5 Most Successful Practitioners of Genocide' list. To say she's not exactly putting the knowledge to good use could be construed as a mild understatement.

And while family business dealings with such dubious characters as George C. Battle, O.K. Casady or 'Uncle' Pan Rudo might have given most people of reasonable intelligence pause for thought, she still considers herself on the side of the angels. So a little slow on the uptake, then. There's still hope for her, but only if she gets her ass out of the laboratory and samples life from the other side of the looking glass for awhile.

Positive attributes - Open-minded.
Negative character traits - Gullible, lacks social skills, obsessive, closeted.
Main appearances - Marked Cards.
Supporting appearances - Black Trump.
In a nutshell - Misguided.
Random quote - 'It haunts me that history will remember me as the woman responsible for the death of over a million people. But I'm willing to pay that price.'

 

ROULETTE

Beautiful female Ace with café au lait skin and a whole closetful of unresolved issues. The aptly named Roulette is a major-league femme fatale and cohort of the Astronomer who makes the prospect of a life of celibacy sound quite appealing, since anyone planning an intimate relationship with her risks their manhood and their life. And in that order.

She once gave birth to a Joker so hideous it's kept her awake ever since, and now whenever she brings the image to mind during climax, she's able to unleash a poisonous tide upon her lover's equipment that makes the clap look benign. The Astronomer's reluctant assassin of choice, Roulette is working on the assurance that once she's done what he wants, he'll erase the memory of that childbirth from her mind. Yeah, right. Until then, though, the only way to practise safe sex with this girl is to make sure you're in another state entirely.

Positive attributes - Possesses a conscience - not that that stops her.
Negative character traits - Weak-willed, gullible, motivated by hatred.
Main appearances - Jokers Wild.
Supporting appearances - Down and Dirty.
In a nutshell - Damaged goods.
Random quote - 'I'm not a professional killer. I don't research.'